I always enjoy being able to share behind the scenes on how our records are made. In this post meet Dalma Zelenak, vinyl press operator, at Record Industry, one of the largest automated vinyl pressing plants in the world, putting out about 40-50k records per day, located in the Netherlands. What’s really cool about sharing Dalma’s story is that she had contacted Anouk after reading her story on Women In Vinyl and applied for a job. That is exactly what I hope that this platform will continue to do.
Dalma is from Hungary and now lives in the Netherlands. She’s a self proclaimed music addict, a long time concert-goer, music collector, playlist curator and label owner. She has been mix-taping on Spotify for four years. “So far, I have 49 playlists with nearly 4,000 playlist-followers which is still growing.” She’s also started a hardcore punk record label, Sheer Addiction, last year. Her first release was Oily Bloodmen, an old-school hardcore punk band from the 80s Portland, in the vein of Poison Idea. “Later they started playing grunge music, and a fun fact: Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love started dating at Oily Bloodmen’s gig”.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I have been a music addict since my childhood so it was a sort of focus point to get into the music industry. The 90s and early 2000s were about cassettes and CDs for me. I got into buying vinyl after high school. As I mentioned I have always had a keen interest to work within the music industry. I even wrote both of my Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis about the music business; to be more specific, about the digital music business. I was also an intern at a hardcore label.
As the music streaming services are key factors to discover new music or unknown bands before, can listen to it anytime and anywhere, I got the idea to make playlists for punks. I have 49 playlists with handy descriptions and in total almost 4,000 people following my playlists which is growing. Some bands reached out to me to put their songs on one of the playlists. My most popular playlist is anarcho-punk music.
Besides the digital part of the music industry I’m also interested in the old school part of it, the vinyl industry. For example, I have been reading the interviews on Women In Vinyl for a long time. I read the article with Anouk, CCO at Record Industry, then I knew for sure whom to reach out to apply for a job within the company. I have started my hardcore punk record label, Sheer Addiction, last year.
What is a day in the life like?
Being a vinyl press operator I operate 4 machines. So it means each day is different, depending on how big the orders are, what colour/colour combinations I have to press among others. Making coloured vinyl requires cleaning the machines between orders to press the music in order. Some days are relaxing and the press goes smoothly. Meanwhile there are some situations which require patience and quick trouble shooting. As I’m a music junkie I don’t feel overwhelmed and I take the challenges easily. All in all, it feels like being in nirvana.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
I like that this question popped up because it feels great I press vinyl for my favorite bands/artists, so far such as: Ramones, Beastie Boys, Brian Eno, Dag Nasty, Toxic Shock, Killing Joke, the Replacements, Lana Del Rey and the list goes on. Besides that I made vinyl for Slayer, Pink Floyd, ACDC, Lady Gaga, among others. Maybe one day I press vinyl for my friends’ label or for my label?!? Haha!
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
One of the main points is to set the machines to run smoothly and with their maximum capability producing flawless and the best quality on every level, including sound, weight, colour etc. But sometimes Murphy’s Law kicks in which requires quick trouble shooting and patience. I learnt a lot from my supervisors and maintenance team who are always there if the machine needs an advanced repair.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
I think if someone is crazy enough for music, they will find a way to get into the music industry. Connecting with the right people is very important. I read the interview with Anouk, CCO at Record Industry, on Women In Vinyl, so then I knew whom I had to reach out to talk about career opportunities at Record Industry.
I’m fortunate enough to say my work is my hobby and my hobby is my work.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
As I mentioned before I have been collecting music since my childhood; cassettes, CDs and vinyl. But nowadays I don’t buy CDs anymore. Sometimes I get CD-Rs from friends with 80s punk demos on it. As answering for your questions I got a demo tape (80s Canadian hardcore punk band) and Lana Del Rey’s new album, ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club‘ this week. Most of the time I choose black vinyl. I’m not a huge fan of coloured vinyl, except the red and white. I need to tell you, I pressed very cool colour combinations but I’m more into the basics.
My story is simple: my parents used to go to concerts and we always listened to and bought music. Furthermore we recorded video clips from MTV and VH1. Somehow I stayed like that! Besides buying physical music I also use streaming services. I’m that type of person who can listen to one song in a loop for hours all day long so it’s easier to set up the loop on a streaming service than jumping to the turntable all the time to listen to one song for thousand times.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Tell me what you’re currently listening to:
Deep in my heart my favorite music genre is 80s hardcore punk and I like those new bands who play 80s style. Besides that I’m a huge fan of Lana Del Rey. I have been listening to her new album, ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club‘ since it was released. I pre-orderd the vinyl-shirt bundle. The vinyl is transparent but the shirt has an old school vibe so I had to choose this option. Furthermore in the recent month I was listening to jazz music.
Record Industry: @record_industry
Record Industry: www.recordindustry.com
Playlist Curation: www.spotify.com/user/sheer-addiction